On April 28th, 2017 we purchased our second “fixer upper” home, this one being in downtown Hershey – the town in which we ultimately wanted to settle. A friend offered the house to us at a great price for Hershey and we knew this was our opportunity. It’s also one of the original homes (100 years old this year) built by Mr. Hershey for the supervisors in his factory.
It was split into two apartments – upstairs and downstairs – at some point in the 1950s or ’60s (the best we can tell), so we decided to keep it that way as long as we could as it was a way to provide some extra income as we continued to become debt free.
We renovated the kitchen and main bathroom, refinished the floors, and a few other projects before we moved in. We added central air and switched from fuel oil to natural gas two years ago. We replaced the roof and added solar panels last year. Little by little we’ve worked on our home (thanks to a lot of help from family, and friends like Dean from 121 Home Projects) and we love the progress.
Each floor is about 700 sq. ft., and when it was just us living downstairs it was no problem. Even when the twins were babies it worked well. However, we are realizing more each day that they (and we) need more space to run around and play.
Last fall, the (wonderful) couple that rents the upstairs apartment told us that they were planning to move into the tiny home they had been building and that they hoped to move in September 2020. At this point, we knew that IVF would be happening soon and that we’d potentially be having two babies in Fall 2020, so the timing of their move was perfect!
Even though the IVF failed, after being in our home for 51 days now with the boys, we were still ready to double our living space and looked forward to September.
So, when they asked if they could move into their tiny home on June 1st instead, we were so excited (except that June 1st is when Brennan is supposed to return to work as of now, so I have to be patient)!
Please know that we’re not excited that they are leaving – they have been ideal tenants for 2.5 years and have become our friends. We’re excited for their new adventure (their tiny home is amazing!) AND for ours.
In just 25 days, we will DOUBLE our living space!
I attempted (poorly and quickly) to draw a floor plan of our home to help illustrate the current/future situation. It is NOT to scale (at all – look at the size of our kitchen, LOL), and it’s not perfect (and as an Enneagram 1 it makes me cringe, thus the disclaimers), but it gives you an idea.
The best part about this is that we only have to remove one (non-structural) wall to make the house one house again!
When that wall in our current bedroom/future dining room is removed, the staircase will be exposed. That’s it! We still have work to do, but that will at least allow us to move into the bedrooms upstairs (which we recarpeted last year and painted, so they’re move-in ready except for the kitchen).
This photo is from a house two doors down, but this is what we will see once the wall is removed (except we have a door instead of a window, and we hope to make that french doors someday). The current wall is where the railing is.
We will move the refrigerator from upstairs into our kitchen (because it’s newer), and the stove to the garage. The sink and cabinets have to go but we’re not sure what to do with them (I have ideas for repurposing). The sink is an antique and likely something we could sell.
We will now have a second floor laundry room – and I am so excited. We’ve been doing our laundry in the basement for most of our marriage, which is fine, but having a laundry room right by the bedrooms sounds so marvelous.
All of this has been complicated by the shut-downs, so we aren’t sure when we can completely finish the first floor projects, but that’s okay. The house will be safe and won’t look like a construction zone and that’s what matters.
Once we remove the wall and the upstairs kitchen, the county has to come and verify that it’s one house so that they can “recode” the use of the house. Once that happens, we can refinance. By making this one house the value of the home increases significantly (which doesn’t make sense, but we’re not complaining). Refinancing will help us eliminate PMI and lower our interest rates!
- We have to hire an electrician to merge the electric panels so that we have one bill instead of two, and to tie the upstairs electric into our solar panels.
- Of course, lots of drywall repair to be done. We’d like to tear out all of the plaster on the first floor and drywall at some point.
- Our friend Dean of 121 Home Projects will be building a wall of bookshelves in what is currently the boys’ room. I have probably never been more excited about a project! He built our built-ins at our first home and will be doing them here, as well. Dean will also be making a cased opening (or installing french doors – we haven’t decided) between the dining room and the bookshelf room/office.
- We hope that our friend Jesse of JH Craftsman will be building us a beautiful dining room table for our new dining room. We’ve wanted one for years and he does amazing work.
- We will also hopefully be adding a deck with a pergola to give us a comfortable outdoor living space, with french doors leading from the dining room to that deck. This will also be for toddler containment since we don’t have a fence.
Stay tuned for progress! We are excited to “move” since it won’t require much effort this time. It’s been three years and we’re ready for this next adventure.